President Obama's stunning declaration that the global image of the United States has greatly improved under his administration is another example of his ideology and narcissism's blinding him to his many policy failures.
During a White House event with the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, he managed to turn the subject to himself, saying, "People don't remember — when I came into office, the United States in world opinion ranked below China and just barely above Russia. And today, once again, the United States is the most respected country on earth."
As evidence, the White House cited a Gallup poll, but it failed to mention a BBC poll showing that the United States is in the middle of the pack. Significantly, the BBC poll ranked the U.S. behind most of the countries with a positive image — such as Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, the European Union and Brazil — and ahead of mostly just those that always enjoy a negative reputation, such as China, Russia, North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.
Time magazine foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer says Obama's claim that the U.S. is "once again the most respected" country in the world is absurd, as our favorability ratings have fallen by 13 percentage points in Germany since 2009 and 19 points in Japan since 2011. "Don't bother," he says, "asking the Russians."
Besides the inconclusiveness and ambiguity of polls, do we really want to judge our foreign policy successes on how well we are liked in foreign countries by their citizens — as opposed to the extent to which we are respected by their leaders and are successfully safeguarding our national security interests?
Other than his ambition to get a second Nobel Peace Prize for a monumentally reckless nuclear deal with Iran, Obama, as evidenced by his latest State of the Union address, doesn't care that much about foreign policy. U.S. News & World Report's Lamont Colucci wrote after that speech: "There has not been a single success and no planning for how to keep America preeminent. If the Clinton years were a foreign policy disaster, the Obama years have been a foreign policy vacuum."
Even liberals know that Obama is bereft of a coherent foreign policy strategy. The Washington Post's David Ignatius wrote: "Under Obama, the United States has suffered some real reputational damage. I say that as someone who sympathizes with many of Obama's foreign policy goals." The Economist asked, "What would America fight for?" The Financial Times observed, "America is behaving like a declining hegemon: unwilling to share power, yet unable to impose outcomes." The New York Times at one point said that too often it does not feel as if Obama "is exercising sufficient American leadership and power."
Columnist Charles Krauthammer pointed out that for the first time in 40 years, Egypt asked Russia, instead of the United States, for assistance and for weapons, citing Egypt's "revulsion against the United States because we have checked out under Obama."
Obama's "reset" with Russia is in shambles, and both Russia and China are on the march. Speaking of China, our allies humiliated Obama by joining China's new bank, which observers said marked a diplomatic defeat for Obama.
Obama's failed Arab Spring projects and his embarrassing drawing of red lines will haunt his legacy. How about his deplorable relationship with Israel and his personal attacks against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he openly blames for the failure of the peace process with Palestinians? Obama had the audacity to say not long ago that he is disappointed that Israel is not living up to its own values.
Obama also claimed that because he's re-engaged the world, he was "able to end two wars while still focusing on the very real threat of terrorism and to try to work with our partners on the ground in places like Iraq and Afghanistan."
Obama has ended two wars? If you call snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq and a plan to do the same in Afghanistan ending wars, then perhaps Obama has a point.
How about Obama's bizarre observation about "the very real threat of terrorism"? Can any objective observer of Obama's reflexive reaction to deny Islamist motivation behind almost any terrorist attack fail to see he is in denial about the very real threat he claims to see? More significantly, how can anyone be comforted by Obama's assessment that we are getting the best of the Islamic State group as it continues to gobble up territory and behead Christians and others?
And who could possibly feel sanguine about Obama's nuclear negotiations with Iran? Other nations surely don't. Reasonable people know that Iran can't be trusted and that any deal based on trusting that evil regime would be criminally negligent. Just this week, we learned that Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles have grown an enormous 20 percent during our "negotiations" for the past 18 months.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia reportedly has great concerns about Obama's proposed nuclear deal with Iran and says that if Iran were to go forward, nothing would prevent Saudi Arabia from developing nuclear weapons. Also, Obama has made a complete mess of our relationships with other allies in the Middle East. NBC News reported that the Sunni nations fear that the Obama administration is leaking intel to Iran in order to appease the mullahs. Most of our allies are losing confidence in American leadership. Foreign Policy magazine reports that France doesn't trust Obama on Iran, concerned that under Obama's policies, Iran is about to replace Saudi Arabia as a key ally in the Middle East.
There's plenty more, but these should make the point.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.